The Alpha's Temporary Mate(10)

By: Victoria Davies

Kieran leaned closer, crowding into her space. “It has to, my witch. When my pack is watching, you need to look at me like I’m the only one in the world for you.”

“I can be a fine actress, thank you very much. I won’t give us away.”

He snorted. “I haven’t known you long, but even I know you can’t lie to save your life.”

She blinked at the words. It was true she’d never been very gifted at deception, but that wasn’t an insight she’d expected him to have—not based on their limited relationship. Unease tugged at her as she realized Kieran saw more than she intended him to. It was so easy to write him off as a spoiled playboy, she tended to forget he was much more than that.

The man before her ran a powerful, dangerous pack with an iron fist. He’d weathered challenges to his leadership and threats from intruders. If she ripped open his shirt she had no doubt she’d see scars from his many battles marring his golden skin. She needed to remember Kieran wasn’t a man to be trifled with.

He was a predator, and she very much wanted to avoid being prey.

“I wouldn’t have agreed to this charade if I wasn’t confident I could do it,” she said, swallowing hard.

Kieran moved, trapping her between his arms as he gripped the railing on either side of her body.

“You can’t jump when I touch you,” he breathed against her ear. “You can’t look at me like a wayward schoolboy in need of a reprimand.” He drew back enough to meet her gaze. “We’re supposed to be lovers. There wouldn’t be a single inch of your skin I wouldn’t have run my lips over.”

Heat suffused her face.

“There, you see? You blush when I’m close.”

“I don’t,” she denied, lifting her chin.

Kieran snorted. “People will take one look at us and know we’re pretending. If we’d really been lovers for months, there’s no way you’d still look so goddamn innocent.”

“Maybe I’d teach you a thing or two instead. Ever think of that, wolf boy?”

A chuckle rumbled from his wide chest. “Witchling, if you ever want to try and teach me something new in the bedroom, I promise I’ll be a most diligent student.”

Her cheeks were on fire despite her desire to remain unaffected by Kieran. He was right, damn him, she needed to stop acting like a giddy teen when he touched her.

“I’ll work on it,” she growled, pushing at him to force him back. “By tomorrow I’ll be ready. I just need to wrap my mind around all this.” Sidestepping him, she headed back into the apartment.

“I’m going to unpack,” she called over her shoulder. “And there’d better be a lock installed on my door.”

Another low laugh drifted to her ears. “A promise is a promise.”

Kieran ran a hand through his hair as he watched the witch walk away from him. His wolf growled at the sight of her leaving, and he had to strangle the impulse to call her back. Claws ached to spring from his fingertips as the wolf prowled within him. Never before had his other half reacted so strongly to a woman. Though both sides of him loved the chase and enjoyed the numerous females who had tumbled into his bed over the years, none of them had ever lit his blood on fire the way the little witch did.

Purposely turning away from where Chloe had disappeared, he stared down at the trees below. It must be the mating moon messing with his instincts in such a way. All wolves sensed the extra tension this time of year, the heightened realization that a powerful event was drawing nearer. Given they were so tightly tied to the lunar cycles, any fluctuation in those forces could cause mental and emotional disruptions.

Once the moon had passed, his wolf would stop focusing so singularly on Chloe.

It had to.

Shaking his head, he wondered if he should sneak out tonight for a run in his wolf form. He was too contained in his human skin. Maybe a break would help calm his mind.

Because it looked like a run was the only release he’d be getting any time soon. Once his clan saw him with Chloe tomorrow he’d have to be careful to be tied only to her. Wolves did not cheat on those they loved, and for this charade to be successful he’d have to hold to that standard. There’d be no calling any of the women in his Rolodex who’d be happy to help him with a little creative stress release.

He dragged a hand down his face. When he’d come up with this plan, a few weeks of celibacy hadn’t seemed like much of a problem.

But being around the tempting witch, with no outlet other than his hand, was going to be a special kind of torture. For all his teasing, he very much doubted Chloe would let him into her bed, and if he were a better man he’d be grateful for the fact. This relationship was supposed to come with clear lines. Once the moon had passed, he wanted to separate from Chloe with no lingering feelings of attachment. They needed to be partners in this enterprise, and she wasn’t the type of women to treat sex as casually as his kind tended to do. No, she looked at the world with stars in her eyes. He’d bet anything that she hadn’t crossed her first century yet, though he’d come across many supernaturals younger than her with a far more cynical outlook of the world.

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